Last weekend was much more competitive throughout the SEC than Week 8 proved to be, as four of the six Week 9 matchups were one-score games at some point in the fourth quarter. The SEC West was a perfect 3-0 against the SEC East on Saturday, and Arkansas had little trouble taking care of UAB in the lone non-conference showdown of the day.

LSU handed Ole Miss its first loss of 2014 with a thrilling 10-7 win in the only all-West game of the week, and the West still has just one loss all year to anyone from outside the division (Georgia’s win over Arkansas).

Here’s what we learned about every SEC West team following Week 9 action.

RELATED: Updated AP Poll | Coaches’ Poll


Week 9 result: Defeated Tennessee 34-20
What we learned: Alabama didn’t teach us much in a game it should have won against Tennessee, but it did reinforce a few things we already knew about the Tide. First, it reminded us just how much better Amari Cooper (nine catches, 224 yards, two touchdowns) is than any other wideout in the conference. Second, it reminded us that although this Alabama defense isn’t as good as in years past, it’s still pretty good. Third, it reminded us why Blake Sims was chosen as the team’s starter after he threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. The Tide remain ranked in the top 5, and it’ll continue to progress as it pursues a berth in the College Football Playoff.


Week 9 result: Defeated UAB 45-17
What we learned: Like Alabama, Arkansas didn’t teach us much in a convincing win over UAB. The Razorbacks already proved they’re capable of scoring points in bunches against non-conference foes like Texas Tech and Northern Illinois, and the same held true in Saturday’s showdown with the Blazers. The biggest question facing Arkansas is whether or not it can win an SEC game this season, and Saturday’s contest did nothing to help answer that question. The Razorbacks appear to be a talented team, but we didn’t just learn that from Saturday’s victory.


Week 9 result: Defeated South Carolina 42-35
What we learned: The Tigers taught us that while their offense is still potent, their defense can be suspect against other top-flight offenses. Auburn allowed 35 points to a South Carolina team playing away from home for just the third time all season, and Gamecocks’ quarterback Dylan Thompson threw for 400 yards and five touchdowns in a frustrating loss on the Plains. Auburn did force three turnovers in its win, but its defense was exposed by South Carolina, giving SEC West teams like Ole Miss and Alabama the blueprint for how to counter Gus Malzahn’s spread rushing attack.


Week 9 results: Defeated Ole Miss 10-7
What we learned: The Tigers taught us they are indeed among the elite teams in the SEC after handing Ole Miss its first loss of the year in a thrilling 10-7 victory in Death Valley. LSU still has two losses, but both losses came against teams currently ranked in the top 5 in the nation. The Tigers have won every other game in impressive fashion, including a 38-point win over Kentucky and the most recent win over the Rebels. LSU has clearly turned a corner this season, and it showed us Saturday it is as dangerous as any team in the SEC.


Week 9 results: Defeated Kentucky 45-31
What we learned: Mississippi State proved it could win a close game on the road with its 45-31 win over Kentucky Saturday in Lexington. The Bulldogs had blown out every team on their schedule entering Week 9, with its closest test coming against an LSU team trailing by 19 points with fewer than five minutes left in the fourth quarter. Kentucky trailed by just seven points for much of the second half, yet Mississippi State made a big stop or put together a critical scoring drive whenever it needed to most, and winning this kind of game will go a long way in preparing MSU for a potential playoff run.


Week 9 results: Lost to LSU 10-7
What we learned: The Rebels taught us that although they have the SEC’s best defense, their offense might be bad enough to cost the team a shot at a national title. Ole Miss held LSU to just 10 points, which is the average number of points its allowed to opponents in becoming the nation’s top-ranked scoring defense. However, the Ole Miss offense was putrid, mustering just seven points while failing to establish any long, sustained drives while LSU controlled time of possession. The LSU offense may have worn the Ole Miss defense down by the end of the game, but this loss is the fault of the Rebels’ offense. We knew Ole Miss was a defense-first team, but Saturday taught us just how much the offense can hold the Rebels back.


Week 9 results: Bye
What we learned: Texas A&M enjoyed a much-needed bye last week, so we didn’t learn much about the Aggies during their week away from the field. As far as we know, Kenny Hill is still the quarterback and A&M is still a team jockeying for as good a bowl berth as it can earn now that it knows it won’t be making a playoff run. The Aggies return to action against Louisiana-Monroe next week, so there might not be much to learn from that game either, but they’ll finish the year with games against Auburn, Missouri and LSU, which should teach us much more about whether the Aggies are the explosive team we saw early in 2014 or the woeful team that lost three straight games before the bye.